Journal for July 2001

We saw a Black-billed Cuckoo on the way in – red eye ring, long rounded tail, curved short bill.

Something, probably raccoons, has been up the birdfeeder pole, and eaten everything, and knocked down the peanut and sugar water feeders.  They had a feast!  Now we have to think of better coon protection for it.

Mike mowed the area above Sumac Prairie today.  It was nearly all brush, so it’s much more open now.  It will be fun to see what comes up.

Coyotes howling – sounded like a whole hillside of pups and adults.  We were on Hidden Oak Prairie, just at dusk, and the hillside across from us, to the west, erupted in sound.

Mike is mowing Goldenrod Valley today – mostly one large Goldenrod meadow in the middle.  The rest has gullies and steep sides – hard to mow.  I found lots of monarch caterpillars and a tree frog.  We disturbed a nest of Wild Turkeys near the top of the valley while we were mowing the path.  The babies must have just hatched – very small – about the size of ducklings – scurrying away up the hill.  The escaped safely, and we didn’t mow the nest.

My project is to cut thistle and plant my seedlings.  Yesterday I found a few more prairie plants on the Pine Point Prairie that we planted.  Some grasses and lots of Blazing Star.

At the foot of Hidden Oaks Prairie is a small primrose-like flower – lots of it.  (later found out that it’s Hoary Frostweed – Helianthemum bicknellii)
Raccoons were trying to get in the cabin last night – climbing or scratching on the walls.  One was in the crotch of a tree, looking in at us.  We made lots of noise and then closed all the windows.

Saw a Banded Hairstreak and Campanula aparinoides in the wetland.

We saw the cuckoo again, catching bugs in front of the cabin.  It was hard to see clearly through the screens.  The Scarlet Tanager was here again.  And there were Chimney Swifts in the wetland.

This weekend’s birds:
Black Billed Cuckoo
Scarlet Tanager
White Bellied Nuthatch
Wild Turkey
Song Sparrow
Chimney Swift
Yellow Throat
Eastern Towhee
Blue Winged Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Rose Breasted Grosbeak
Eastern Bluebird
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Phoebe
Black-capped Chickadee
American Robin
Downy Woodpecker
Indigo Bunting
Turkey Vulture
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Oriole
Red-tailed Hawk
Great Blue Heron
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

Moth mix on the trees works very well for both moths and butterflies.  They seem to learn where it is, and more come every day.  Last night there were lots of tiny moths, and one big one.

7/21 and 7/22/01
Richard Mahler and Nicky Leach came with us to see the farm, so Mike mowed and we took a tour in the gator – too hot (90 degrees) to walk.

We found Black-eyed Susans blooming in the prairies we planted!  It’s so encouraging!  There were 50 or so blossoms in the East Center Valley field (that Mike mowed), and the same number or more in the Western Center Valley field.

**** Richard Mahler’s observations
****Nicky’s observations

Mike and I took a walk and returned just before the rain came.  We saw a couple of turkeys who ran ahead of us frantically and then into the woods.  Another gator ride on Tork’s land to Sumac Prairie – saw several turkeys – Mom and several young ones – who flew up into the trees and watched us warily.

Bobolinks (about 6) in the wetland and the Pine Point Field.  First time I’ve seen any.  There were 3 or 4 males, and several females or young.  I wonder if they nested here?

I took photos of the Black-eyed Susans in the Center Valley fields, and noticed some Partridge Pea flowering.  Silly to plant an annual.  Next time I’ll wait until the prairies are 2 or 3 years old.  Mike is finishing up mowing the Western Center Valley field for the second time.

Raccoon-proofing on the birdfeeders seems to work fine.  We heard one short attempt to get past it last night, but they didn’t succeed, and stopped after that one try.  Lots of Grosbeaks in the feeder – I saw 8 at one time – several males and the rest females and young.

Large patch of Lobelia inflata – Indian Tobacco – just at the top of the Eastern Valley Trail.  Also, Eupatorium purpureum in the woods, along path to Hidden Oaks Prairie.

Saw a Smooth Green Snake just above the Eastern Valley Trail, in a little prairie opening.  It froze, and we watched each other.  When I had walked around the rest of the little prairie area, and gone back, it was still there.